Thursday, July 09, 2015
Vancouver's "Living Wage"
It doesn't bind private sector employers but if you work for the City of Vancouver or for a contractor working on behalf of the City, you will receive, at minimum, the "living wage" now set at $20.68 an hour. Vancouver city council passed the motion unanimously.
Last week, Mayor Gregor Robertson introduced a bill that would obligate the City of Vancouver to pay its employees and major services contractors according to the living wage, a bill that received final approval Wednesday.
Though the decision will only affect Vancouver residents employed or contracted by the municipality, its supporters call it a “symbolic” victory for all.
“It shows that other organizations and businesses can do it,” said Deborah Littman, lead organizer for Metro Vancouver Alliance (MVA), which helped put together a living wage rally before city hall on Wednesday. “There are also other places in the world where this is happening.”
In the Vancouver area alone, more than 40 local employers have already committed to paying the living wage, nine of whom joined in 2015.
The list includes Vancity, Ethos Law Group LLP, and the Vancouver and District Labour Council, among others.
“It sets a bar,” said Rev. Margaret Marquardt, chair of the Eco-Justice Unit of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster, which is a member group of MVA. “They finished the council meeting by saying that this isn’t just a number on a page, this about taking leadership to take this to other employers, and obviously to influence other municipalities too.”